NextEnergy selects first solar farm to be retrofitted with battery energy storage

NextEnergy Capital launches £500m solar fund with support from UK Infrastructure Bank

Published: 26 Apr 2022, 09:52

NextEnergy Solar has 91 solar assets in the UK, and is now looking to identify which could benefit from being retrofitted to include battery energy storage. Image: NextEnergy Capital.

NextEnergy Solar (NESF) has selected the first of its existing solar sites to be retrofitted to include battery energy storage.

The 11MW North Norfolk solar farm will be fitted with a 6MW/12MWh battery system, with planning permission now secured by the company and construction expected to start this year.

North Norfolk receives subsidies through Ofgem’s Renewables Obligation Certificate scheme with a 1.6 banding, and the configuration of the battery energy storage will be designed to align with this.

It will the first in a number of existing solar sites to be fitted with battery energy storage, as the company continues to work to identify additional co-located battery storage opportunities.

NESF currently has 91 UK solar assets, four of which have already been identified as potentials for co-located battery energy storage and are being progressed to development stage.

Michael Bonte-Friedheim, Group CEO of NextEnergy Group said the North Norfolk solar farm retrofit marks a key milestone for the company, as implementing co-located batteries “presents an attractive growth opportunity for NESF as these assets offer both synergies with our PV assets, as well as offering diversification to our portfolio income”. 

“Battery storage is a market that NESF has been preparing for some time, having acquired two small scale co-located batteries at Salcey Farm and Pierces Farm in 2017, and we look forward to keeping the market up to date on the results of this programme, now and in the future.”

In addition to its retrofit program, the solar power renewable energy investment company is also developing 250MW of standalone battery storage assets through a joint venture with Eelpower.

NextEnergy is also continuing to build out its solar portfolio, with construction of its 36MW bifacial, subsidy-free Whitecross solar site beginning this month for example.

“Battery storage is, and will be, a strong driver of growth for NESF, particularly as we look to help in the drive to decarbonisation and the UK’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050,” added Ross Grier, UK managing director of NextEnergy Capital.

“We anticipate that energy market volatility and continued demand for higher amounts of renewable energy will increase our strong value proposition for battery storage within NESF’s portfolio.”

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